Sunday, November 4, 2007
Slumming by Kristen D. Randle
I recommend this book for: high school
I picked this one up because I saw it on a list of books about LDS (or Mormon) teens, and that caught my interest. As an LDS person myself, I wanted to check it out.
Alicia, Sam, and Nikki are three seniors who share the bond of being the only people of their faith in the school. When Nikki idly wonders what makes some people beautiful and others not, they find themselves embarking on a human experiment to choose a social outcast and show them a little TLC, trying to shape them up and take them to the prom. Things are more difficult than they'd imagined, of course - Nikki zeros in on the class nerd and finds there's more to him than meets the eye, while the intimidating girl Sam chooses has an abusive family life that makes him physically ill when he knows the whole of it. Alicia's target, the school bad boy, is worse than she knows, and her naivete puts her in a very dangerous situation. The message that people are more than the stereotype others place them into is very clear, and the family situations the various teens face ring true - even the tragic ones. However, some things didn't sit quite right with me - one being the way Alicia completely shuts out her neighbor, Peter, for a transgression he committed when they were both 12. It seemed too extreme. As for the LDS element, it was clearly a part of the characters' lives - their values were clearly stated, an older brother receives a call to missionary service during the novel, church programs like hometeaching are mentioned . . . but I'm not sure why Randle chose to make the protagonists of this particular novel Mormons, if that makes sense. Overall, an okay book, but not one I'll read over and over again (like I did with her The Only Alien on the Planet as a kid!)